At the anti-climatic end of the previous post, a job interview candidate was exiting the washroom and about to enter a room for a discussion about a job opportunity. Preparation complete, it is time to face the gauntlet. Jokes aside, here is a relevant question. Are job interviews supposed to be Herculian tasks? Perhaps not, but they are certainly portrayed and taught to be that way. It’s understandable that in order to hire the best candidate for a job, employers put short listed applicants through a challenging scenario set in a highly competitive context. They dangle a salary, a dream career and perks in front of the candidates as incentives to win. This sounds like a Roman Arena packed with Gladiators. And, here we thought we live in civilized times. Bad analogies aside, the job interview really is a ‘survival of the fittest’ process. Personal experience has provided new insight and a belief that this approach should be changed. But before we can change the world, we first need to do the interview.
Here are five tips on ‘How To Ace A Job Interview’:
1. Ask about money first. You have a right to know what your salary is before you commit the next half hour of being interrogated by a stranger about your ‘people skills’ and proficiency in MS Office. Some poor folks get tricked into going through the entire interview only to be told at the very end that the job pays peanuts. Netflix doesn’t pay for itself and as a proud human being with a level of dignity, you should not settle for less than what you think you are worth.
2. Be mysterious and very introverted. People tend to gravitate toward mysterious figures more than they will to a seriously outgoing person. Do not reveal too many personal details about yourself. If asked about your family, play sad and depressed. Do not talk about your hobbies or interests. This information will be used against you in the future to get you involved in company activities such as ‘Family Day’ or their Corporate Social Responsibility task force. All your employer needs to know is that you are willing to show up from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday and do ONLY what’s on your job description.
3. Ask about time off. Find out how soon after you start working you can apply for vacation time off. Also, enquire about sick leave, casual days, bereavement, paternity and maternity leave. It’s important to know if you are expected to work on holidays (public and religious), election days and when it rains for more than two hours in the vicinity of the office.
4. Find out about accomodations for your kids (if you have them). This should actually be number two on this list for parents. It’s crucial to know if you are allowed to reach to work half an hour to an hour late, because you have to drop your kids to school or take them to the doctor. You should also find out if you are allowed to bring them in to work after they have finished school for the day. Make sure your employer knows that they cannot deduct money from you salary for the half an hour you need to leave work to pick them up and bring them back to the office. That would make your employer heartless and discriminatory of course. Also, make it clear that your co-workers may have to hear and see you discipline your kids while at the office, so they might have to put up with some shouting, crying and harsh language.
5. Try to ascertain if the company has a rule book for employees. If you are supplied with a hardcopy, quickly browse for rules on using company office supplies, photocopying, porn, Facebook, online trading and gaming.
Armed with these tips, you should be able to decide whether this job suits you best, or if you should keep looking for something better, which fits your needs and wants. Do not be too bothered by the interviewer’s hurried scribbling on their note pad and haste to get you out the interview room. They probably cannot wait to go announce the news to the rest of the staff that they have found the perfect person for the vacant post!
To be continued…